Which Orthotic Type Is Right for You?
By Ankle and Foot Institute
July 19, 2019
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Orthotics  

Custom-made shoe inserts called orthotics may ease your foot pain if you suffer from pain due to flatfoot, arthritis, or diabetes, or want to orthoticsprevent overuse injuries if you're an athlete. Your St. Louis, MO, podiatrist, Dr. Richard Wittock, can help you decide which orthotics type is right for you.

What do orthotics do?

Orthotics cushion and support your feet, keep them properly aligned in your shoes and control joint movement. The inserts not only protect your feet but can reduce pain in your entire body. If your feet aren't properly supported, you may eventually develop pain in your ankles, knees, hips, or backs. Orthotics keep your weight evenly distributed over your feet and may help reduce your risk of developing leg, hip, or back issues.

What's the difference between drugstore shoe inserts and orthotics?

The inserts sold in stores offer a one-size-fits-all solution to foot problems. Although they provide some degree of cushioning and support, they may not do enough to improve your problem or may even make it worse. Orthotics are designed by your St. Louis foot doctor to address your specific foot condition.

What types of orthotics are available?

Depending on your foot problem, you may benefit from one of these common orthotics types:

  • Rigid: Rigid orthotics are stiff, full-length inserts made of carbon or plastic. They may be recommended if your feet turn in when you stand and walk, your legs are different lengths, or you have an abnormal gait. They can also help reduce back or leg pain.
  • Semi-Rigid: Semi-rigid orthotics are also full-length inserts, but they're composed of a soft, cushioning material placed over a rigid core. They're a particularly good choice for runners and athletes, as they decrease pressure on your tendons and muscles, control foot movement, enhance balance and cushion your foot.
  • Soft: Soft orthotics not only offer superior cushioning but also decrease pressure on the foot and improve shock absorption. The full-length inserts are often prescribed for people who have diabetes, arthritis, or age-related changes in the foot.
  • Heel Cups: Heel cups only cover the heel area of your shoe and offer additional cushioning. They're a good choice if you have heel pain due to plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, heel spurs, or thinning fat pads under your heels.

Could orthotics help you? Call your St. Louis, MO, podiatrist, Dr. Richard Wittock, at (636) 717-1100 to schedule an appointment.

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